Staffan Dahllöf

Recent Posts

Commission proposes ban on pesticides while central documents are kept secret

Time is running up for chlorpyrifos – the pesticide designed to kill insects, and a cause of brain damage to human fetuses and newly born children. The EU-commission and the food safety Authority (EFSA) have both publicly stated the present approval should not be renewed. Yet a final decision scheduled for December cannot be taken for granted. In 2 August EFSA-experts declared that no detectable residues of chlorpyrifos in food can be accepted. Sometime in September the Commission informed EU-member states it will propose a total ban on chlorpyrifos and related substance chlorpyrifos-methyl at the end of the year. Continue Reading →

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Denmark plans import ban on pesticide residues – ­legal expert calls it mission impossible

Danish minister for food Mogens Jensen (Social democrat) has instructed the national food administration to prepare a total Danish ban on food treated with the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Peter Pagh, professor in environmental law at Copenhagen University calls it a blow in the air, as EU-countries cannot ban imports in their own. Henrik
Dammand Nielsen, head of section for chemistry and food quality at Danish
Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) says Denmark has asked
the Commissions for its plans to ban an EU-wide use of chlorpyrifos, and
expects a reply from Brussels within 5-6 weeks. ”If we
haven’t received a reaction we will go forward with preparing a national import
ban,” he explains. These
preparations come parallel to the ongoing process of whether to prolong a
present EU-approval of the pesticide or not. Continue Reading →

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EU-experts agree pesticide may damage unborn children

There are no safe levels for exposure to the pesticides chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl, EU-experts have found. An EU-ban of the criticised pesticides comes closer. Experts
from EU-member states and staff members at EFSA (European Food Safety Agency)
have published an unusual statement on two controversial pesticides, believed
to cause brain damage on children whose mothers have been exposed during
pregnancy. The pesticides
do not meet the criteria for a renewed approval, EFSA announced
2 August in a statement. The present approvals expire in January 2020. Continue Reading →

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On your dinner plate and in your body: the most dangerous pesticide you’ve never heard of

updated 17/6 klokken 07.26

Harvest of melons in the province of Murcia in Spain. Photo Marcos García Rey

Scientists say there is no acceptable dose to avoid brain damage. Its use is banned in several European countries. Yet its residues are found in fruit baskets, on dinner plates, and in human urine samples from all over Europe. Now producers are pushing for a renewed EU-approval – perhaps in vain. Continue Reading →

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One study only paved way for chlorpyrifos

Chlorpyrifos has been used in EU despite the manufacturer’s study on developmental neurotoxicity is criticized for being invalid. Photo Marcos García Rey. The EU-approval of the pesticide chlorpyrifos was based on one single study concerning possible damages on the developing brain, commissioned by the producer Dow in 1998. Dow has been asked to provide a new study on developmental neurotoxicity, but rejected to comply. A spokesperson for EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) says to Le Monde:

“We can confirm that during the evaluation of chlorpyrifos in 2013 the only one available study on developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) was from 1998 and had several limitations (e.g. lack of findings in the positive control, exposure period from gestational day 6 to lactation day 11 (instead of 21), lower number of individuals for neuropathology (6 instead of 10) and for learning and memory (8 instead of 10), etc.).”

Spain is acting as the Rapporteur Member State for the UE in the renewal procedure which will end in January 2020. Continue Reading →

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Axel Mie: ”That’s how it works; assessment is based on business funded research”

Axel Mie, associated professor Karolinska Institute, Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset Stockholm, Sweden. ”It’s obvious that many independent studies find effects in the development of the brain whereas business funded research finds no such effects. The present assessment of chlorpyrifos is to a large extent based on hundreds of studies finances and filed by Dow. That’s how it works. This is well known.”

”The authorities have to take all evidence into consideration, also academic studies. Continue Reading →

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EU-system alerts consumers – after they have eaten

Oranges from Spain is some of the fruits in EU, where there is a really high risk they are contaminated with chlorpyrifos. These oranges are harvested in the Spanish province, Valencia. Photo: APIADS – Agrupación de defensa sanitaria apícola

Documents released to us indicate that the EU-wide reporting system called RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) gives European consumers a weak protection, if any. In April 2018 Austria notified 19 other countries of imported basmati rice from Pakistan that contained chlorpyrifos in a level deemed to pose a serious risk to human health. The rice was withdrawn from the market by importers in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. Continue Reading →

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Exposed mothers gave birth to mentally retarded children

Pesticide application to a field of cereals in Tauste, Spanish province of Saragosse. (Photo: Marcos García Rey)

Children in California’s main agricultural region Central Valley were compared to their mothers’ exposure to chlorpyrifos and other pesticides. 2961 of the children had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) including autism and Asperger syndrome, 445 of them had known intellectual disabilities and were recorded as mentally retarded. Ten times as many children without such diagnosis were also included in the study. The mothers’ exposure to chlorpyrifos and other pesticides was assessed. Continue Reading →

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Thomas Backhaus: ”One of the really nasty pesticides”

Thomas Backhaus Professor for Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sciences the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. ”You can say the compound is very good at doing its job – killing insects. Farmers don’t spray if it doesn’t work. Thus, the problem is how to develop a non-toxic poison; a challenge for any pesticide.”

”The fundamental discussion is that those who want to market a product have to prove it’s safe and academic research is not a good counterpart. There is no independent entity that runs or re-runs the experiments on  which all the conclusions are based. Continue Reading →

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The non-accountable MEPs

Out of 748 MEPs at the time of our investigation in 2017, only 53 were prepared to show documentation for actual spending (Photo: European Parliament)

A case lost by a group of journalists representing the 28 EU-member countries in the European Court of Justice last September will cast a shadow over upcoming European Parliament elections. In our view, we actually were among close to 500 million people who lost when the court decided that no EU citizen has a right to access documents about expenditures claimed by the members of the European parliament (MEPs). This is remarkable in light of the fact that many countries, or member states, already allow access to the expenses of their national parliamentarians. The documents we had asked for were proof of expenses held by MEPs in their role as legislators. In 2019, all members receive €4,513 each month for keeping offices in their home countries while not on duty in Brussels and Strasbourg. Continue Reading →

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